Bill Lee really, really didn't like George Steinbrenner

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I said that I wasn’t a fan of whitewashing the recently departed, but Bill Lee goes a few steps beyond what even I’m comfortable with:

Former Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee did not soften his stance on George
Steinbrenner following the Yankees owner’s death Tuesday. “As far as
Steinbrenner’s passing? Good,” Lee said in an interview with New
Hampshire TV station WMUR. Added Lee: “Trust me, if hell freezes over,
he’ll be skating.”

Lee, who spent 10 of his 14 major league seasons with the Red Sox
and took part in a number of heated battles vs. Steinbrenner’s Yankees
in the mid-1970s, claimed that Steinbrenner tried to have him banned
from baseball. “He said I was an incompetent and I was bad for the game
of baseball,” Lee recalled. “Well, I’m not a convicted felon like
George Steinbrenner, and he’ll take that to his grave.”

I would have figured that Lee would have had a slightly more zen take about it all, but I guess not.

The Nats want Trea Turner to attempt 75-80 stolen bases this year

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When it comes to cliche spring training stories, we talk a lot about “Best Shape of His Life.” Sometimes we talk about the “[Pitcher] has been working on a changeup” or “[Hitter] has made an adjustment to his swing” stories too. Then there’s the “we’re really going to focus on fundamentals” quotes managers love to give in February and March. They’re evergreens. 

Another one in that category is the “we’re going to run more” or “we plan to be aggressive on the base paths this year.” You hear that from at least one or two managers every spring. I imagine because, like the fundamentals one, it deals with something over which they have at least some moderate control. It’s a good quote.

We’re hearing it from Nats training camp this year with respect to one particularly speedy player in Trea Turner. From Mark Zuckerman at MASN:

Davey Martinez called Trea Turner into his office this week and told the speedy shortstop he wants him to attempt more stolen bases this season. How many? Let’s just say even the ultra-aggressive Turner was taken aback.

“Yeah, he gave me a number,” Turner said. “And I was like: ‘Wow, all right.’”

Martinez later revealed to assembled reporters that he thinks if Turner “attempts 75-80, we’ll be in great shape.”

Turner led the National League with 43 stolen bases on 52 attempts in 2018. The year before he attempted 54, which was his career high. Only only four players have attempted 80 or more stolen bases in the past ten years, so yes, 75-80 would be quite the escalation.

Which is not to say it’s silly. On a very basic level, yeah, if he is stealing bases more often, even without changing his basic approach, the Nats WILL be in great shape because it’ll likely mean that he’s on base more, and that’s good. If it’s merely a matter of him being more aggressive in the same number of times on base, well, let me know, but I’m not holding my breath.

I guess it’s nice to have goals, though.